Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My first trick-or-treater

A while back, I asked my readers to offer themselves over to me to be reviewed. I was delighted to get a few responses. Today, I welcome Ramona Martine. She is taking a break from making the first ever "That Ghoul Ava" Halloween costume to answer a few questions.

Thanks to Ramona for taking some time to answer a bunch of my questions

1. Which of my books left you feeling just a bit cheated? Why?

Ok, maybe I’m going to be totally alone on this answer, but at the very end of Zomblog: Snoe’s Journey, she talks about Betty being pregnant and that everything is getting re-established after the crazy Dominique tried to take over the “world”. Also, Snoe says that she’s decided to say “yes” to Jimmy about him staying behind with her, but it’s like the six book series ended in a paragraph that felt like, “I killed the bad guys, lost my hand, found my friends, met some guy I may want to love and, oh yea, Bye”   I truly liked all the Zomblogs but the ending of the end book could’ve been a bit more detailed maybe? It’s not so much how you ended it as how bluntly it ended.

2. Which of my books would you say was your favorite? Why?

I won’t be able to choose just one, but the newest series, ‘That Ghoul Ava’ is AMAZING, HILARIOUS and full of NEW IDEAS!!! The first one does a great job of whetting the palette for more to come, and they just get better and better…. I Want to Be Ava’s Friend!! I want to hang with her and help kick some booty with her. So totally enjoying her bluntness, distractedness, foul language, severe loyalty and the fact that she is attempting to maintain her “humanity” even though she’s a Ghoul and everyone around her says she “can’t be like that, you’re a monster” She refuses to fall into Supernatural Stereotypes and continually surprises us with her ability to remain, I guess, true to herself and still kick some serious supernatural butt! If you haven’t read Ava’s adventures, you NEED TO!!! 

3. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

TW Brown – Writes my current Favorite books, That Ghoul Ava J and wrote the 3rd zompoc series I ever read. Also, I like the fact that the zompoc books are dark, twisted and basically, what makes them seem so real. I mean, to me the books have a realistic view of what the world would be like in the apocalypse.
Eric A Shelman – Wrote one of the best zompoc series that I have read, very original in concept and his take on the zompoc is very different. I love the characters and the passion they still have in the midst of the zompoc.
Mark Tufo – Second author I ever read that wrote about the zompoc and the way that he combines supernatural elements with the zombies is another original take on the genre.
Joseph Talluto – His book White Flag of the Dead was the first zompoc book I ever read, he’s on the list because his book is what started my zombie book passion.
Shel Silverstein – I’ve loved his stuff since I was a kid and his poems and stories made me realize that I can write anything I want and no one has to like it. Individuality is to be cherished not smothered.
Dean Koontz – Got me into the scary and different genres.
I have more but these are the top and the reasons why. J

4. What is the first book that just got under your skin and made you fall in love with it?

The first book that I can remember being utterly affected by I read when I was 11 I think. It was ‘Say Goodnight Gracie’ by, Julie Reece Deaver. I think her book hooked me on reading for the rest of my life. Let me put it into perspective if I can, I’m 35 now, I read her book when I was 11. I STILL remember the book and in particular the scene that changed my life…. I can remember the shirt I was wearing and where I was when I read it. I didn’t know it at the time, but a year or so later was the first time I had to deal with the death of a friend and my beloved Great Grandma at roughly the same time. I think her book helped me deal with their deaths and my love of literature blossomed from there.

5. Share (in your own words) the most memorable scene you have ever read.

I’m not sure if I can use this one since I am a beta reader for you…. But here goes, I’ll try to keep it vague.

M: “ I’ve been so very wrong about you…. You just promised something that you can’t possibly even know if you could keep the promise, yet here you stand. There is something about you. I really have misjudged you and been unfair to you” 

A: “Umm…. Wow…. Thanks?”

M: “You don’t get it… you’re so very much more special than I could even imagine, I almost lost you and now, issues could arise from my mistake, You’re so much more then you seem and I owe you my life.”

I can’t go into too much detail, but I cried for real when I read this scene. I have always wanted someone to tell me that I can and am more then what I think of myself. I fancy myself an artist and creative person, yet I have almost no confidence in my art work or the things I try to create. The fact that someone so very strong, powerful and mighty can one, admit they’re wrong, and two tell the other that they really are special and needed… I want that too….

6. Have you ever considered starting a reading circle or book club? And would you be more likely to do so if you knew that the author would be available to your group for a Q & A session (either via Skype or Google+ hangouts) when you all finished?

I would totally consider starting a book club or reading circle. Especially knowing how much technology allows us to connect to people that have similar interests. I am a total book nerd and being able to pick an authors brain would make it even more interesting.

7. If you have read my DEAD series, then you are familiar with Garrett McCormick. I have had a lot of criticism regarding my creation and inclusion of that particular character. Do you feel I went too far?

No you didn’t go to far. The issue is that he’s a human monster. The rest of the people in the book are battling the undead and raiders, but Kirsten has to try to battle the worst kind of monster, the living, breathing, thinking kind.  Yes, Garrett was an evil bastard, but here’s the deal. A) I’ve said from the first time I read your DEAD series that they remain very realistic. B) The absolute truth of the matter is that if a zombie apocalypse really happened, there would be a few Garretts and unfortunately worse out their preying on the weak.  Garrett was gross, but he kept with the “realistic” tone of the books. AND trust me, I have read A LOT in this genre and Garrett wasn’t the worst character written.

8. If the zombie apocalypse did occur, how well do you think women and children will fare in general?

I don’t want to actually say this, but children wouldn’t do well alone. Some would, yes, but they would be the exception not the norm. Women would do ok, but just like men there are the strong and the weak. The ones whom would do whatever it takes to make sure they’re loved ones survive would have the best chance. Unfortunately, there is only so much that can be done when we’re talking about physical strength. Men are stronger then us physically and I think that may play a part into it.

9. Do you think society has any hope if such a thing as the zombie apocalypse were to actually occur, or, as I have often suggested, do we lose too many of the “good guys” early on and end up left with those in the middle and those who have been hiding under a rock?

This is tough to answer because I want to say that humanity as a whole would bind together and try to help each other out, but if it were to happen from some sort of outbreak, unfortunately, we wouldn’t know until it was too late. At that point, all first responders and ‘good guys’ would be lost at first, and then people would start to do the ‘out for themselves’ routine. I think it would go to sh&% first, then hopefully enough good people would be left to try to start rebuilding. A real apocalypse would rid the world of a lot of the sick, weak and infirm, also, the bad and cruel usually are too cocky and probably would cause a lot of drama at first but then they’d fall to their own vices. I think in the end, there would be a bastion of survival with good people, the only issue is would we be then rebuilding and trying to start over only to make the same mistakes again?

10. I have been accused of over-dramatizing the victimization of women and being overly misogynistic, do you agree? If so, let me have it with both barrels. And if not, what would you say in my defense?

Sometimes yes, you’re a little hard on the women, but not always. I think that you’re trying to create a world that may be a little bit more on the realistic side of the equation in the zompoc. That being said, yes women are used as a commodity and a thing in the eyes of some dudes. Especially those dudes that are bad and out to get what they want. I may not be the kind of women who would be taken, but I’ve been shooting since I was a kid. I had a EFFED up childhood and some serious sh&$ happen to me as a kid that makes me a freaking survivor. Some women would try to be bad asses and some will succeed but not all. It’s a fine line to try to be realistic in your books yet not come across as a total woman basher. I don’t think you have a low opinion of women, I think you’re writing as “realistically” as possible in the world that you created. 

11.In a lawless society, do you become a follower? A leader? Or a crusader set on battling those who take advantage of the lack of repercussions?

Not sure if I’d want to be a leader, too much drama. But I know for a fact that if you hurt the innocent and I find you…. You will not live to taint another innocent soul. If you are someone’s worst nightmare, you would pale in comparison to the Nightmare I will become for YOU in this world. I will make you fear things you never thought possible to fear, a 5’3” blonde haired, blue eyed bringer of justice for the innocent. I am the avenging Angel.

12.If you heard a news report today saying that a possible zombie attack has been reported, how serious do you take it?

Serious. Our government is good at hiding things until its too late. It may turn out to be nothing, but damn straight I am of the mind that better safe then sorry, better to be prepare and not need it then, need it and not have it.

13.Let’s talk about That Ghoul Ava. Humor is very subjective, so what do you find funny?

I have always been the girl to laugh at the inappropriate. I crack up out loud sometimes at the stuff you write in the Ava books. I have what you’d call gallows humor I guess? I laugh at the morbid yucky stuff most people would barf at. J I am highly inappropriate and I love myself.

14.What is the last thing you read that made you actually “laugh out loud” (as opposed to LOLing, where you probably didn’t really, you just said/typed it because you were amused).

Ok, totally is in line with the previous question. In Mark Tufo and John O’Brien’s latest collaboration, A shrouded world, there is this NASTY scene, where John the Tripper has to poop. They’re walking along an he suddenly stops. His companion asks what he’s doing and his response is “ I need to make a food baby,” ???? what??? “Food baby. It’s gonna happen soon. I can feel the contractions! I’m going to need some hot water!” then there is the rest of the scene where his squats down in the middle of the road taking a poo and he reaches out to the other guy and asks him to hold his hands so he won’t fall over, more funny stuff and then “You can’t rush the miracle of food-child birth” the scene gets a little more gross and funny. I literally laughed out loud and while trying to explain to my husband what was so funny, I kept laughing so hard he couldn’t understand what I was saying cuz every time I got to the “Food Baby” part I couldn’t stop laughing.

15.What will keep you coming back for more with Ava? A love interest storyline? A long running battle with a Super-villain? Or...she just fits the bill when you want mindless pulp fiction?

So far I am thoroughly loving her just the way she is. But, maybe someone she could kiss and have friends with benefits with? The problem with a Ghoul and long term love intrest is that I wouldn’t want it to change her too much. I wouldn’t want her to stop being her cuz she’s got feelings for a dude/monster. AND, it would have to be a creature she could kiss. A long running super villain may be ok, but through all the other books she’s kinda always ‘figured it out in the end’ and killed the bad guy. So, it would have to be well written and kind of like tit for tat and then she’d still have to kill him. However, someone who appears to be good but then may be bad so she gets into trouble more because of it could work….. The newest one is headed in the right direction J

16.How likely are you to buy books from an author you like even if the genre is slightly (or even drastically) different?

Most authors I read aren’t one trick ponies. I am a HUGE supporter of Indie authors and I think this allows them to write what they want. If I love your works, I will read your other stuff because you’re a good writer not just cuz it’s a zombie or supernatural book.

17.Did you know I wrote a “time-travel” themed book Titled Dakota as well as a sci-fi/alien themed short titled The Exoterrestrials? (You actually have to search using “Dakota by TW Brown to find it...I had no idea that was such a popular title name...sheesh!)

No, I didn’t which is surprising cuz I thought I had read all of your stuff. I will have to look for the other two to add to my collection.

18.How often do you write a review?

I try to write one after every book I have finished, especially with Indie authors, however, I only recently started that. I have actually made it a point to go into my Amazon account like one a week or so and take a few minutes to review all books that I have not reviewed yet. Now, as I finish a book I try to review it right then and there.

19.Are you more likely to write one if the book is terrible versus one that you enjoy?

No, I try to write the review no matter what I thought of the book. It’s a help to self published authors that we readers review regardless of what we write in our reviews, good reviews gain the author popularities and bad ones hopefully help the author improve.

20.I hate predictability. If I am reading and a main character is in danger, I want to actually fear for his or her existence. I get a lot of grief for killing main characters. Does that annoy you or do you see it as adding more realism?

You absolutely have to kill the main people sometimes. If every character lived miraculously throughout each book, they’d be boring and I probably wouldn’t be as into them as I am. Do I get sad sometimes that you killed a main guy? Yes, but it does lend credibility to the story.

21.Now it is your chance to just say what you feel. Give me some feedback and be sure to include some critical stuff. That is how a person gets better at their craft.

I LOVE AVA!!!! Now, that being said…. Can you PUH-LEASE write faster!!! She’s really gonna be your golden goose I think. The books could be a bit longer but that is just selfishness talking J

Now, as far as the DEAD series goes, I have read them all to date. Mostly I loved them, but even though I read them all, there was some really confusing stuff happening in the last couple that I still am not sure I got fully. The whole thing with Jon, Jake and Jesus and then the kid they found and then was it the real Jake? Wasn’t it? I am going to re read the last part of the last book to make sure I get it all, but it seems like that one part of the story was maybe an after thought? After some other stuff happened were you trying to make connections where there were none before? Other then that, I see why they went into La Grande, I mean the stories would be boring if they did nothing but sit on the mountain, but were you maybe trying too hard to give them some action? I don’t know. I do enjoy the books a lot and will continue to read them, but I hope after re reading that last part of the last one I can figure out the missing pieces and fully understand what happens. I am interested to see what happens with Thalia as she grows up and Billy was a great choice for narrating after Steve died. J


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